Pennsylvania’s Departments of Environmental Protection and Community and Economic Development are sponsoring an Industrial Energy Alternatives Forum to bring together Pennsylvania manufacturers, suppliers of alternative and affordable energy resources and the financial community to devise ways to help industries struggling to remain competitive in the face of rising energy costs.Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – September 14, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] Pennsylvania’s Departments of Environmental Protection, and Community and Economic Development are sponsoring an Industrial Energy Alternatives Forum to bring together Pennsylvania manufacturers, suppliers of alternative and affordable energy resources, and the financial community to devise ways to help industries struggling to remain competitive in the face of rising energy costs. “With rising imported fuel prices and recent record-high oil and natural gas prices, opportunities abound to explore new energy technologies that only a few years ago might not have been cost-competitive,” DEP Secretary Kathleen McGinty said. “The choices we make today will greatly impact the future supply and price of energy. Together, we can make Pennsylvania a leader in clean and advanced energy.” The forum – arranged with the support of Pennsylvania’s Governor Edward G. Rendell – will take place from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 8 in Room 105 of the Rachel Carson State Office Building in Harrisburg. “As Pennsylvania’s manufacturers strive to minimize costs, retain jobs and maximize performance, we must devote time and energy to find innovative and resourceful avenues for fuel efficiency,” DCED Secretary Dennis Yablonsky said. “Our dedication to the future of the environment and the growth of our various manufacturing sectors depends on the critical decisions we make today.” The forum is open to manufacturers or managers of large commercial operations that are experiencing rising operating costs as a result of higher- than-usual natural gas prices or overall energy costs. The forum will focus on landfill gas and coalmine methane as potential alternatives to natural gas in manufacturing and large commercial operations, and will review opportunities to recycle energy through combined heat and power projects. Affordable, reliable energy is critical for large power users, especially manufacturers. Making Pennsylvania a leader in the deployment of advanced energy technology can give businesses a distinct advantage against cheaper foreign competition. Governor Rendell recently launched initiatives to build a clean, indigenous, diversified energy industry in the state, including re-establishing the dormant Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority. Together with a broader fund at DCED, PEDA can provide nearly US$1 billion in tax-free bond financing for clean energy projects. The administration also is moving on a state-wide renewable portfolio standard to ensure that in 10 years, 10 percent of all of the energy generated in the Commonwealth comes from clean, efficient sources. The Governor has already directed the state’s government offices and buildings to purchase 10 percent of their electricity from clean, advanced energy sources. Helping to spur the market share for renewable energy is the $5 million Pennsylvania Energy Harvest grant program, which provides the last increment of financing for clean and renewable energy projects that use energy sources such as biomass, wind, solar, small-scale hydroelectric, landfill methane, coal-bed methane and waste-coal.